Our Aging Nation’s Increasing Demand for Healthcare

Published on February 1, 2024

According to the latest research from Pew, the U.S. centenarian population (aka people over 100) is set to grow from just over 100,000 to over 420,000 by 2054.

America’s aging population has been discussed a lot over the past few years and this type of analysis really helps to put things into sharp perspective.

The article goes on to point out, “There are currently roughly 62 million adults ages 65 and older living in the U.S., accounting for 18% of the population. By 2054, 84 million adults ages 65 and older will make up an estimated 23% of the population.”

The Supply Crisis in Healthcare

What are some of the practical implications of this?

The most immediate is that our nation will continue to need far more healthcare workers. An aging population requires exponentially more care than a young one. This study found that people over 85 consume three times the health care of those ages 65-74—a demographic that already demands significantly more care than the average population. By any metric, the US is looking at a sharp rise in the demand for healthcare over the next few decades.

As the demand for healthcare increases, what about the supply? The numbers aren’t promising. While 2020-2021 was (hopefully) an anomaly, one study found that the total supply of RNs decreased by 100,000 over the course of that year. A study by Mercer projects that by 2025 we will face a shortfall of over 400,000 home health aids, a deficit echoed by significant shortfalls in nearly all other areas of healthcare. These trends are also taking place in the larger context of middle-aged workers retiring early en masse in unprecedented numbers.

Of course, any such discrepancy between supply and demand also marks a significant opportunity for anyone who can take advantage of it. To really understand the landscape, let’s look at some specific numbers.

In 2022, 14.7 million people were employed in the healthcare industry—9.3% of total employment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 1.8 million new healthcare jobs will be added each year over the next decade. The average yearly job growth in all industries in the US is 3%. According to the BLS data, nearly every facet of healthcare work is projected to significantly outpace that average. The slower-growing occupations, i.e. for dental hygienists or EMTs, merely double the national average. But most fields are projected to grow exponentially faster. Jobs for IT and medical registrars are expected to grow 16%; for home health and personal care workers—22%; and for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners—38%. In nearly every medical field we’re facing a huge growth in demand over the coming decades.

The Hiring Challenge

The challenge is clear; the opportunity, less so. As hospitals and healthcare providers look to fill open positions, the obvious strategy is to pour more resources into recruitment. But recruiting workers is expensive and time-consuming, and will only become more so as the competition increases. A study from 2022 found that, on average, it cost $2,167 and took 84 days to fill an entry-level position. The cost to fill a mid-level position was $3,581 and took 153 days.

Exacerbating this difficulty is the fact that the educational system which has traditionally produced these workers is itself under significant strain. In 2021 over 90,000 applicants were turned away from nursing schools simply for lack of space.

The MedCerts’ Solution

The upshot of all this is that traditional hiring methods and workforce pipelines are unlikely to meet the demand anytime soon. So, what’s the answer? Train a new generation of talent and place them directly in the positions we need filled.

MedCerts has been doing just that with remarkable results. Our proprietary curriculum and learning platform is geared towards training and certifying entry-level workers in a wide array of healthcare roles. We’ve helped over 80,000 people find jobs in healthcare faster and with significantly less overall cost than that required by traditional education and recruitment.

The advantages to MedCerts’ approach are significant.

  1. First, we offer a wide variety of allied health programs, including 36 for healthcare roles and 18 for IT and technical work. Rather than specializing in a particular field, we’re able to offer health providers a wide variety of skilled labor.

  2. Second, our programs are far more cost-effective than 2- or 4-year programs and require significantly less time. The average college student spends about $10,000 per year on education. Our programs cost, on average, $4,000, can be completed in a matter of months, and many different business partners are increasingly willing to help fund these programs to get more people into critical roles. This is a win both for employers looking to hire quickly and for students who would rather be earning than spending.

  3. Third, the barrier to entry for our programs is much lower than the commitment to an academic institution. Many students who are either intimidated by or unsure of a healthcare career will have a far easier time committing to a low-cost, quick-turnaround program that places them directly in a position. This both widens the pool of potential talent and reduces turnover from workers who feel financial or career pressure to move on based on their degree.

  4. Fourth, a huge amount of jobs in healthcare do not require 2- or 4-year degrees. Our program minimizes the financial strain on students and gives them exactly the training they need to fill specific healthcare roles without having to start down more expensive and time-consuming education paths. And if they like healthcare and want to continue their education, more and more postsecondary institutions are willing to give our students credit for their prior learning and work experience.

  5. Finally, entry-level talent is notoriously hard to find. A study by the Rockefeller Foundation found that nearly half of all businesses struggle to find enough candidates for entry-level positions. By tapping into an often overlooked labor pool—young workers without college degrees—we significantly increase the supply of such talent.

Ready to take advantage of our programs? Contact us today to start the partnership process.

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Written by
Jennifer Kolb
National Director of Workforce Development

As MedCerts National Director of Workforce Development, Jennifer Kolb is responsible for overseeing strategy and business development efforts at MedCerts with an emphasis on the k-career pipeline.

Prior to MedCerts, Jennifer served in several leadership positions at Tallo and Hawkes Learning where she built and lead sales and marketing, new product launches, technology development updates and an entire product relaunch to be ADA compliant.

Jennifer has spent a decade within the workforce industry working with educators, state leaders, business and industry officials, post-secondary institutions and grant organizations from across the country, all with the mission of bettering people's lives. Coming from a long line of educators and with a business-centered mindset, Jen is passionate about student success and cultivating creative strategies for ensuring all talent has access to educational and career-related opportunities.

Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Psychology with a focus in business management from Clemson University.

Published on February 1, 2024

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